What I Believe
Alfred Korzybski wrote his credo, "What I Believe" in 1948 at the invitation of Indian author/editor Krishna M. Talgeri for a book entitled The Faith I Live By, a "symposium" of essays with a list of invitees besides Korzybski that included Gandhi, Nehru, and Montessori, among others. The book seems never to have gotten published. Nonetheless, Korzybski made good use of the essay printed for distribution to Members of the Institute of General Semantics in September 1949 and included in the content to add to the Second Edition of Manhood of Humanity. As he wrote in a letter to members that accompanied the September 1949 mailing, "What I Believe [was] really a summary of my whole life work." The essay touches briefly, even impressionistically, on major themes in his work, connecting them to the overarching theme of time-binding. Topics include: discussion of his personal background and purposes in developing the notion of 'time-binding'; understanding not statistical averages but human potentialities within a theoretical 'deductive' framework as the sine qua none for an applied 'science of man'; the consequent importance of studying human reactions at their best and worst; time-binding and dictatorships; adequate versus inadequate linguistic and grammatical structures and the necessity of developing an adequate "unified language of evaluation" for a science of man; the overwhelming importance of "non-verbal...silent levels, [as] the key and perhaps the first step for the solution of human problems"; the role of human knowledge of "relations as factors of structure" and of postulational methods; religions and sciences; the importance of inferential knowledge; and the significance of "self-reflexive and circular mechanisms" as "the uniquely human types of reaction which made our human achievements possible." He concluded by discussing the historical importance for humans of becoming conscious of their capacities as time-binders: "...this consciousness may now mark a new period in our evolution." This brochure, part of archives orphaned by the Institute of General Semantics in 2010, has been prepared and released to the public by the Alfred Korzybski Literary Estate.